Assault/Abuse Procedures

Procedure for Reporting Referee Assault and Abuse

For League Play Referees shall transmit a written report of the alleged assault or abuse, or both, within 48 hours of the incident (unless there is a valid reason for later reporting) to the League or Local Association, the State President with jurisdiction over the game or a designee, a copy to Richard Grady, SRA at, and the ISRC Office at

For Tournaments or Special Events, the referee shall transmit a written report to the Tournament Director/Cup Coordinator (on the day of the incident), Player's Home State President (this is to be sent by TD, but a copy may be sent by the referee), your Home State SRA (within 10 days of the incident), and to the ISRC Office at

icon USSF Referee Game Report (Cautions/Send-Offs)

icon USSF Supplemental Referee Game Report (Abuse/Assault - submit with Game Report)

If an assault occurs:

  1. Never strike back, if such action can possibly be avoided. Defend yourself as passively as possible. When referees are struck, the majority of players and bystanders are automatically sympathetic toward the referee, even if they were previously hostile. If the referees choose to "slug it out", they stand to lose the support and calming influence of the players and bystanders. The referees' legal position may also be prejudiced.
  2. Try to remain calm and avoid undue signs of stress. Maintain a standard of behavior befitting a professional referee. Remember that police officers are assaulted frequently, yet they react in as controlled a manner as the situation permits, drawing on their resources of self-control to get to the top of the threatening situation.
  3. Send the player off. Advise the captain of your decision, and be prepared to abandon the game if the player is not removed completely from the scene.
  4. Get the details down on paper (when things are under control). Note the player's number and obtain the name from the team captain or coach if necessary.
  5. Obtain witnesses. Consult your assistant referees, if any, or any unattached bystanders. Record names and telephone numbers for future reference. Use other players as witnesses only as a last resort. Do not be concerned about holding up the game; common assault is a criminal offense and must be treated seriously. Make notes to be sure that your subsequent report is accurate. After the game, discuss the incident with your witnesses; this is quite legal as no charges have been laid at this stage.
  6. Seek medical attention if you are injured. Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or trauma clinic. The medical personnel will treat any injuries, and document them for the record. Retain any medical records.
  7. Official notification of the incident. Contact the President of the State Association that has jurisdiction over the game, the State Referee Administrator, and Illinois Soccer Referee Committee (ISRC) Office as soon as possible, but at least by the next business day, to make them aware of the incident. Follow up with a complete written report. A copy should go to the SRA, the ISRC Office, the State President and to the league or local association to which the accused belongs.
  8. Write a report. The report of assault or abuse toward any member of the referee crew must be professional, precise, informative and above all, accurate. The report should be accompanied by written reports from the assistant referees (if used) and by copies of any other game misconduct reports sent to the league under whose jurisdiction the match was played. If you were, or are going to be medically treated for injury, that should also be noted.
  9. Procedure for report transmittal. The written reports are sent within 48 hours to the State President with jurisdiction over the game or a designee, and a copy to the SRA, the Illinois Soccer Referee Committee Office, the league or local association. For tournaments or special events, the tournament director/event coordinator must be notified, in writing, on the date of the incident, and the referee's home state SRA (if game is out of state) within 10 days.
  10. Report terms and references. Refer to Policy 531-9, Section 3.
  11. In the event that the assault is serious enough for you to consider filing civil action with the local authorities, you do have that right. Please inform the State President and the Illinois Soccer Referee Committee of your intent to do so.